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Italy’s Transport Minister Matteo Salvini has asked the EU Commission’s Transport Commissioner and his French and German counterparts to review the ban on ICE vehicle sales that is set to go into effect in 2035.
Salvini told Italian news outlet Ultimore that the proposed ban on the sale of fossil fuel-burning vehicles “makes no economic, environmental or social sense.”
Salvini’s stance on the ICE vehicle sales ban echoes that of carmakers and the European car industry association, ACEA, in the summer of 2021. At that time, the ACEA was insisting that ICE vehicles still had a vital role to play in the transition to greener energy. Salvini also suggested in September that the Italian public should vote on the issue.
The EU has mandated carmakers reach a 100% cut in CO2 emissions by 2035. But this year, those who believe fossil fuels are necessary even in the energy transition have been emboldened by the energy crunch now squeezing Europe. With electricity prices reaching new highs, some countries are starting to rethink their ambitious EV goals.
Switzerland officials, for example, are considering a ban on electric vehicles—at least for this winter. Switzerland often sees a dropoff in power generation over the winter months, with the majority of it being derived from hydropower, which wanes in the winter. It typically imports a substantial amount of electricity from its neighbors France and Germany—but France and Germany are facing an energy crisis of their own due to a variety of factors, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and France’s nuclear power output declines. Electric vehicle charging can put additional strain on the electric grid, and so banning the vehicles—while seemingly going against the longer-term green transition plans--seems a natural conclusion.
While some could argue that this winter is unique and Switzerland’s consideration of an EV ban is short-term and will do little to disrupt Europe’s longer-term transition goals, it does raise a question as to whether global electric systems are capable of supporting such an ambitious goal.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.